TOMS RIVER –A town hall meeting March 4 will connect Holiday City Silverton residents with township professionals who can answer questions about the recently completed property revaluation.
Mayor Maurice B. “Mo” Hill Jr. said the meeting is set for 9 am to noon at the township’s Senior Center, 652 Garfield Ave. Tax Collector Carl DiLeo and Assessor William Laird will be on hand to answer residents’ questions.
“What we did is we sent a mass mailing to the community,” Hill said of Holiday City, a nearly 1,600-home neighborhood located off Church Road. The mailer notified residents about the meeting, and also gave instructions for those who needed transportation to the senior center.
DiLeo can answer questions about the “Senior Freeze,” a state property tax reimbursement program for seniors who meet certain income requirements. Senior Center personnel will also be on hand to help residents fill out paperwork for the senior Freeze application, the mayor said.
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Laird will explain the tax appeal process. Residents who believe their new assessment is incorrect must file an appeal to the Ocean County Board of Taxation by May 1. To file an appeal, property owners will need to find comparable homes that sold in the area to prove their house is over valued.
Holiday City Silverton property values have soared under the recently completed revaluation, and the increased values mean property taxes will increase for homeowners there. Ward 2 Councilman Daniel Rodrick, who represents the Holiday City community, said property taxes have risen by “40 to 100% “under the new values.
Rodrick said he has spoken to many seniors who fear they will be unable to afford the tax increase that comes with the new values.
According to figures provided by the township, the average assessed value of the nearly 1,600 homes in Holiday City at Silverton has jumped from $ 66,933 to $ 148,516, an increase of about 121%.
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The average sales price of homes in Holiday City Silverton was $ 152,562 in 2019, $ 162,124 in 2020 and $ 201,711, the mayor said, citing figures provided by the assessor’s office and Professional Property Appraisers, the company hired to complete the revaluation.
Holiday City includes duplexes as well as detached homes, with houses ranging from a bit over 800 square feet to more than 1,300 square feet.
Hill said Laird had estimated that Holiday City properties were assessed at about 40% of their true market value before the revaluation, which was completed late last year by Professional Property Appraisers. That compares to a bit under 80% for the township as a whole before the revaluation process started.
Revaluations are completed to distributed taxes more equitably in a community; experts say that a typical revaluation raises property taxes for about one third of residents. Another third will see taxes stay the same, while one third will see a decrease in taxes.
Holiday City is divided into two sections, Phase I and Phase II. Hill said his administration had reached out to the board of trustees of each section to see if township officials could hold a meeting in the clubhouses at the adult community.
“Phase II said’no,’ and Phase I never got back to us,” Hill said.
Rodrick is organizing a separate March 27 meeting at the Phase II clubhouse about the revaluation; a posting on the Phase II Facebook page said “appropriate personnel” would be on hand to discuss the Senior Freeze and tax appeals.
Rodrick has criticized Hill and his administration, saying he believes the new assessed values in Holiday City are incorrect and arguing that state law permits Assessor Laird to review the values in the adult community and other areas where values have jumped, including some parts of the waterfront ..
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Township Attorney Gregory P. McGuckin said earlier this month that Rodrick’s statements on the state statute were incorrect. The law permits an assessor to review property values only if there is an area of town that is considered to be severely under- or overvalued, he said ..
The Ocean County Tax Board just certified that the assessed value of Toms River properties is at 100% following the completion of the revaluation, McGuckin said, meaning no part of town is considered undervalued or overvalued.
Under state law, tax assessors’ actions are regulated by the New Jersey Treasury Department’s Division of Taxation, and assessors are supervised by county boards of taxation, not municipal governments.
Last week, Rodrick asked McGuckin, who is a GOP state assemblyman representing the 10th District, and his colleague, 10th District Assemblyman John Catalano, to consider introducing legislation that would reduce the number of years those 65 and older must have lived in the state in order to qualify for the Senior Freeze.
The law require at least 10 years of continuous residency in the state to qualify for the Senior Freeze.
Toms River resident Geri Ambrosio also made the same request, and McGuckin said he would meet with her at his legislative office to discuss a potential reduction in the residency requirement.
“I am sure the entire council would support a resolution,” Council President Kevin M. Geoghegan said.
Jean Mikle covers Toms River and several other Ocean County towns, and has been writing about local government and politics at the Jersey Shore for nearly 37 years. She’s also passionate about the Shore’s storied music scene. Contact her: @jeanmikle, jmikle @gannettnj. com.